Recently we had a deployment to apprehend a suspect, Afghanistan veteran, mentally unstable. He called 112(our 911) threatening to blow himself and everything with him up. He has a long history of disturbing the peace and mental problems, but for some reason he was not in a care facility, or even checked to see he kept taking his medicine.
He had his house full of gas, because he locked himself in, and opened his stove and oven releasing a lot of natural butane gas into his residence. The neighbors were all evacuated and the street was cordoned(to cordon off?) off to the public.
Communication by telephone stopped 15 minutes before we arrived, but he called the emergency services himself about 25 minutes before our arrival. When he did not respond to negotiations with his sister over loudspeakers or to his doorbell we shot a lot of beanbags though his windows, shattering them so the gas could ventilate. This from the front and back.
The fire department advised us the upper explosive limit of (about 2 up to 8 % by volume) was very unlikely to be reached, and the lowest threshold was likely to be reached within minutes if we could ventilate the house, so we did.
This had to be done to save the windows of every house within a few hundred meters, and for us to enter safely. There was no other way I think.
After another five to seven minutes(112 call +30minutes) we drove the van into his front yard up to his second story windows, removed the glass so 5 others could enter, we chucked in some smoke devices, because we feared the man would totally freak out if we used distractive pyrotechnics. We did not get any response after the beanbags were shot through the windows, about 16 shots in total, but with veterans 9-bangers or thunderflashes seem to have a negative effect. So smoke it was.
3 man cleared the ground floor, and did not encounter the suspect. and the second story was also cleared within 45 seconds. Thats when we feared the man hid in his attic, with only a fold able stair/ladder. At that time we got reports from outside there was smoke coming from the roof.
The fire spread fast, we could not enter the attic safely, and it was soon engulfed in flames. It was obvious the man couldn't be alive at that stage. Mission failed, no one won.
I think this man should have been in a mental hospital long before this happened, and there was no way of apprehending this man safely.
My question is, what would you have done differently, and why? At what point was this intervention gone wrong? Suggestions?